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Overcoming disaster using the 4 Noble Truths

Allan Lokos tells the terrifying story of being on board a plane on Christmas Day when it crashed and exploded in flames. Lokos talks about the 4 Noble Truths, Karma, and how his mindful practice was instrumental to his recovery from the plane accident.

Show Summary

What we can learn from Allan Lokos, a Buddhist teacher, who views getting into a plane accident as a gift?

A:  VIDEO: It’s hard to imagine that most people’s worst nightmare could be viewed as a gift.  Listen to how Allen’s views this accident as a gift  http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=13m12s  and how in retrospect he looks back with no regrets due to what he’s learned and experiences in his life post-accident http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=32m1s.

How can a Buddhist frame of mind help shift us out of seeing ourselves as a victim when facing adversity?  How do we rise above seeing ourselves as a victim?

A: VIDEO: Often when we face adversity, we ask “WHY”, “WHY ME?”, revenge, or we get angry and go to unhelpful mind states.  Allen describes more here  http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=14m39s.  Allen explains how staying present during the critical moments while jumping out of the plane may have saved his life: http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=21m35s

How does Karma apply to our unpleasant life events?  Is bad karma why bad stuff happens to us?

A: VIDEO: Allan explains our common misunderstanding about karma.  Allan explains that Karma is about causes and conditions and how Karma applied to the plane crash http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=15m55s).

What are the four noble truths?

A: VIDEO: The Four Noble Truths were the Buddha’s initial teaching about the “middle way” and how it was the way to alleviate suffering and be happier. Allen explains the Four Noble Truths (http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=23m18s)

  • 1st Noble truth: I have seen the Noble Truth of suffering. (Note: He did not say “life is suffering” or “the purpose of life is suffering”).   Buddha believed that interwoven in the fabric of life that includes joy and happiness is dukkah (suffering, stress, distress, unhappiness).
  • 2nd Noble truth: I have seen the Noble Truth of the cause for suffering.
  • 3rd Noble Truth: I have seen the Noble Truth of the cause of suffering, and that cause is always about craving, clinging, grasping, and endless desire. Basically, it’s about wanting  something to be different than the way it is.

How can we apply the 4 noble Truths to recovering from a tragic or hard life experience?

A: VIDEO: Allan describes when his real dukkah happened during his recovery (http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=28m22s) and how he wanted his old life back to return to what it used to be.   Allan describes how he ended his personal suffering.

How can we “let go” but not fall into feeling a sense of resignation or being pessimistic?

A:VIDEO: Allan describes how acceptance doesn’t mean neutrality or passivity, and how it’s about having the wisdom to help differentiate between what is acceptable and not acceptable http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=35m31s.  How Allan never felt resignation and how each day was about feeling determination to move forward:  http://youtu.be/7GhZI_uwr94?t=39m28s

 More on Allan Lokos – Buddhist Teacher, Founder of Community Meditation Center

Allan Lokos is the founder and guiding teacher of the Community Meditation Center located on New York City’s upper west side. He is the author of Pocket Peace: Walking the Path of Inner Peace, Lasting Happiness (Tarcher/Penguin; Winter, 2010), and his newest book Through the Flames.

He began his study and practice of meditation with Thay Thich Nhat Hanh in the nineties and later founded A Joyful Sangha based on Thay’s teachings. Other teachers have included Sharon Salzberg, Joseph Goldstein, Stephen Batchelor, Larry Rosenberg, Andrew Olendzki, Corrado Penza, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, and Tsoknyi Rinpoche. He has also attended a number of weeklong teachings with His Holiness, The Dalai Lama.

Lokos is an ordained Interfaith minister and Co-Founder/Spiritual Director of The Community of Peace and Spirituality. He is a graduate of The New Seminary and is a guest teacher there as well as at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary and Marymount Manhattan College. His writing has appeared in Tricycle Magazine[1] and his essay, The Spiritual Practice of Creativity, appears in the anthology, Audacious Creativity: 30 Ways to Liberate Your Soulful Creative Energy [2].

Earlier in this life Lokos was a professional singer appearing first with the American Savoyards and then in the original Broadway productions of Oliver! and Pickwick, as well as the Stratford Festival/ Broadway production of The Pirates of Penzance. He wrote more than 100 articles on various aspects of performance that appeared in a variety of publications including Backstage Magazine.


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